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Thursday Overnights: CBS Rules With Regularly Scheduled Line-Up

The Eye Net's 'Young Sheldon' is the Standout


Note: The CBS affiliates in New York and Buffalo preempted the network’s regularly scheduled programming line-up for the Buffalo Bills-New York Jets NFL game airing on NFLN. All programming normally featured on WCBS was seen on WLNY.

Household Rating/Share
CBS: 6.1/10, ABC: 4.0/ 7, NBC: 3.0/ 5, Fox: 2.4/ 4, CW: 1.0/ 2

Percent Change from Opening Thursday in 2016 – 9/21/16:

CBS: +22, Fox: + 4, ABC: + 3, NBC: -17, CW: -23

-Ratings Breakdown:
CBS stood well above the competition care of the launch of its regularly scheduled Thursday night programming block. The big news was the time period premiere of “Young Sheldon,” which at a dominant 8.2 rating/13 share in the household overnights at 8:30 p.m. held 93 percent of its “The Big Bang Theory” lead-in (#1 for the night: 8.8/16 at 8 p.m.). Comparably, that was a hefty 61 percent above year-ago time period occupant “The Great Indoors” (5.1/ 8 on 11/03/16). No other series historically has maintained this much of “The Big Bang” lead-in.

With stronger lead-in support, CBS comedy “Mom” opened season five at a 5.5/ 9 (#1) in the 9 p.m. half hour, which was 17 percent above the 4.7/ 7 one year earlier. “Mom” led into an also dominant 4.4/ 7 for the season three premiere of “Life in Pieces” at 9:30 p.m.

In series-premiere news, CBS crime solver “S.W.A.T.,” a revival of the ABC series of the same name in the 1970s, opened with a first-place 4.7/ 8 at 10 p.m. Comparably, that was seven percent above lead-in “Life in Pieces.” It bested competing “Chicago Fire” on NBC (#2: 3.8/ 7) and “How to Get Away With Murder” on ABC (#3: 2.8/ 5) by 24 percent and 68 percent, respectively. And it was 31 percent above year-ago time period occupant “Pure Genius” (3.6/ 6 on 11/03/16). In other words, consider this positive sampling for “S.W.A.T.”

On NBC, sitcoms “Superstore” (#3: 2.3/ 4) and “The Good Place” (#3: 2.2/ 4) could not compete with aforementioned “The Big Bang Theory” and “Young Sheldon” on CBS. But “Will & Grace,” featuring the passing of the beloved Rosario character, perked up to a second-place 4.2/ 7 in the 9 p.m. half-hour. Sidenote: Shelley Morrison, who played Rosario, is alive and well and decided not to return to “Will & Grace.” For my thoughts on “Will & Grace,” click here

Airing out of “Will & Grace” was sophomore “Great News,” which slipped to a fourth-place 1.9/ 3 at 9:30 p.m. and needs to be replaced. Note: Next week, football begins its Thursday night run on NBC.

Elsewhere, ABC’s 8-10 p.m. combination of “Grey’s Anatomy” (#2: 5.4/ 9) and “Scandal” (#3: 3.8/ 7) was at typical household overnight levels. Just renewed “The Orville” on Fox (#4: 2.7/ 5) was 23 percent above lead-in “Gotham” (#4: 2.2/ 4 at 8 p.m.). And The CW featured “Supernatural” (#5: 1.2/ 2) and “Arrow” (#5: 0.9/ 2), which has lost steam since moving to Thursday.

What follows is the breakdown by half-hour for Thursday, October 26:

8:00 p.m.
ABC – “Grey’s Anatomy”: 5.5/ 9 (#2)
CBS – “The Big Bang Theory” (time period return): 8.8/16 (#1)
NBC – “Superstore”: 2.3/ 4 (#3)
Fox – “Gotham”: 2.2/ 4 (#4)
CW – “Supernatural”: 1.2/ 2 (#5)

8:30 p.m.
ABC – “Grey’s Anatomy”: 5.4/ 9 (#2)
CBS – “Young Sheldon” (time period premiere): 8.2/13 (#1)
NBC – “The Good Place”: 2.2/ 4 (#3)
Fox – “Gotham”: 2.1/ 4 (#4)
CW – “Supernatural”: 1.1/ 2 (#5)

9:00 p.m.
ABC – “Scandal”: 3.8/ 6 (#3)
CBS – “Mom” (season premiere): 5.5/ 9 (#1)
NBC – “Will & Grace”: 4.2/ 7 (#2)
Fox – “The Orville”: 2.7/ 4 (#4)
CW – “Arrow”: 0.9/ 2 (#5)

9:30 p.m.
ABC – “Scandal”: 3.7/ 6 (#3)
CBS – “Life in Pieces” (season premiere): 4.4/ 7 (#1)
NBC – “Great News”: 1.9/ 3 (#4)
Fox – “The Orville”: 2.9/ 5 (#3)
CW – “Arrow”: 0.9/ 1 (#5)

10:00 p.m.
ABC – “How to Get Away With Murder”: 2.9/ 5 (#3)
CBS – “S.W.A.T.” (series premiere): 4.7/ 8 (#1)
NBC – “Chicago Fire”: 3.8/ 6 (#2)

10:30 p.m.
ABC – “How to Get Away With Murder”: 2.7/ 5 (#3)
CBS – “S.W.A.T.” (series premiere): 4.6/ 8 (#1)
NBC – “Chicago Fire”: 3.8/ 7 (#2)

Source: Nielsen Media Research

Written by Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Marc Berman has been writing professionally since 1999 and is the author of the “Mr. Television” for Campaign US ( Most recently, Berman was the creator and Editor-in-Chief of website and newsletter TV Media Insights for Cross MediaWorks. From 1999-2011, he was the Senior Editor for Mediaweek and has also written for The New York Daily News, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Emmy Magazine, among others. Berman has also appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra,” “Access Hollywood,” “Inside Edition,” “The CBS Evening News,” E!, CNN, CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC.

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  1. Will & Grace been killin’ it on the quality side what an episode last night a good mix of humor and sadness haven’t seen that done effectively in a sitcom in a while. A+ all the way on the first 6 episodes of this revival. Mom was awesome last night as well I think that was its best episode to-date.

    Also it’s time for Great News to go especially if SWAT is gonna be solid for CBS at 10pm so Chicago Fire needs a lift. Hopefully Marlon replaces it right on January 4th.

    • Audiences seem not to have been so happy with Will and Grace as it slid again, this time below 6 million viewers overnight… (not that it should take away any of your enjoyment).

  2. NBC just got slaughtered by CBS… The drops in the overnights compared to last week are substantial – we’ll have to see how fast nationals come in. Their lineups are too similar for both to succeed. Good thing NBC has football coming up, but the long absence will not help their shows.

    • Have you seen the lineup for football? These Thursday night games are really pretty mediocre and the ratings for the NFL are trending down. However, NBC needs all the help it can get on Thursdays.

  3. CBS has to be worried about its lineup after “Young Sheldon.” While winning their weak time periods, they all aren’t anything for CBS to get excited over as their drop offs from “Young Sheldon” are very steep.

    • One thing to keep an eye on too is how Young Sheldon settles in it would not surprise me if it has a sharp decline before January gets here which would put the 9-11 slots in even more danger especially if NBC can replace Great News with Marlon that’ll give Life in Pieces a hard time there.

    • Totally agree. 🙂

      CBS has gotten into the bad habit of looking at the other networks to see if it’s doing well, but it was doing a lot better when it was just looking at its own potential and ignored the failed competition.

  4. Enjoying W&G! NBC foolishly canceled The Carmichael Show. Airing after W&G would have given Carmichael a much larger audience than Great News will ever hope to get.

    • Agreed. Carmichael would have been a great fit after W&G. NBC HAS to dump Great News. I cannot imagine what they are thinking unless it is just a Tina Fey appeasing.

    • Carmichael flopped through its entire run. NBC would be better off trying something new (and perhaps better if Bob Greenblatt could buy a clue somewhere).